Archive for the ‘Shops’ Category


Tiong Bahru Hokkien Prawn Noodles

March 13, 2008

Extracted from
The Tanjong Pagar Town Council’s WINDOW

Number 48 (February 2008)

This stall is located ar #02-50 within the Tiong Bahru Food Centre.

Mr Soh Chuan Siew runs the stall with his wife.

He’s the 3rd generation in his family to sell prawn noodles.

When he came from China, his grandfather sold them from a pushcart here – for 30 cents per bowl!

He taught his son who used to sell them at $1.20 a bowl in the eighties.

Now Mr Soh sells the same great prawn noodles for $3 a bowl.

But he also sells a smaller serving for $2 – and that’s what most people buy.

“We’ve had customers in Tiong Bahru since 1951.

We are well-known.”

The noodles are perfect, the soup rich and tasty, and the prawns are so fresh you expect them to swim to the bottom of the bowl!

Open 6am to 2pm, closed on Mondays

Additional picture from my computer

Mr Soh Chuan Siew’s father, who operated the “HEY MEE” stall at the original Tiong Bahru Market in the 1980s.


TBone Steakhouse Cafe

March 12, 2008

The Business Times

Wine, Dine & Unwind
Dec 01, 2007
By Geoffrey Eu

It may be the new kid on the block, but it looks like it’s ready to stay awhile.
A trendy steakhouse in sleepy Tiong Bahru may not be the most outrageous culinary concept in the world – but it comes close. And that’s not all – if you haven’t heard of the One-Concepts group, chances are you might be visiting, uh, one of their outlets sometime soon. In addition to the recently opened Tbone, which takes up two shop lots just down the road from Tiong Bahru market, One-Concepts is planning a virtual onslaught of outlets in the near future.

Next up is Riverone bar and restaurant by Robertson Quay, followed next year by Unopuro, an Italian trattoria-style place, and Soi One, both also along the river. There will also be sister restaurants, cafes and bars in Bali and a catering company, One Private Dining. The entire brand exercise will be capped off by the arrival of a 60-metre luxury schooner that is being built in Kalimantan.

The man behind One-Concepts is Adrian Hobbs, a Bali- and Hong Kong-based concert promoter who has big plans to grab a slice of the burgeoning lifestyle market, or as he calls it, the luxury market. ‘I’ve been doing entertainment for years and I’ve also had a passion for food,’ says Hobbs. ‘When I looked at places like St James (Power Station) and Ministry of Sound, I decided to get into the lifestyle business, but I wanted to take it one step further and get into the luxury business.’

Hobbs has kept a low profile here since 2004, when he was involved in a dispute involving a cancelled Jose Carreras concert at The Padang. He looks to be making a comeback of sorts in a related field. ‘Tiong Bahru is the last location in Singapore that is Central Downtown,’ he says. ‘I wanted a British-style steakhouse that could serve the locals and the expat community as well. Tbone is very casual – we’re trying to do a total fresh food style, very much like what you would get in Australia.’

He adds: ‘It’s a two- or three-year market sentiment play – I just felt that this is the right time and I didn’t want to miss the boat.’

The menu at Tbone runs the gamut from a 520g T-bone wagyu steak ($110) and a more moderate Black Angus tenderloin ($45) to burger, fish & chip and steak & cheese pie options. There’s also a beef rendang dish, courtesy of the Indonesian-born chef who came here by way of New Zealand. Tbone may be the new kid on the block, but it looks like it’s ready to stay awhile.

TBone Steakhouse Cafe
42 Eng Hoon Street
Tel: 6220-2927
Copyright ©2007
Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Co. Regn. No. 198402868E. All rights reserved.


Oldies draw in the newbies

February 26, 2008

The Straits Times
Feb 24, 2008
By Huang Lijie

HISTORIC CHARM: The charismatic architecture and relaxed atmosphere of Keong Saik Road have prompted the opening of sophisticated gourmet food shops like 25 degree Celsius, which is run by partners (from left) Andrea Chen, Sally Tsai and Karin Chan.


Heritage-rich neighbourhoods of Tiong Bahru and Keong Saik Road are attracting hip eateries and gourmet shops

WHEN chef Joseph Yew opened Spanish restaurant Streeters in Keong Saik Road in 1996, his married male customers used to joke that their wives were suspicious of the eatery’s location.

‘The neighbourhood’s reputation as a red-light district was hard to shake off, but I believed the area’s rich heritage would one day see it become an interesting lifestyle-cum-dining enclave,’ says Mr Yew, 43, who was born and raised in Keong Saik Road.

Well, that day seems to have dawned on the vicinity, as well as on another historic neighbourhood, Tiong Bahru, one of the oldest public housing estates here.

Indeed, the charismatic architecture and relaxed atmosphere of both areas have prompted no fewer than seven sophisticated eateries and gourmet food shops to open there in the last year.

These include bookstore-cafe 25 degree Celsius and French restaurant Nicolas, nestled in shophouses along Keong Saik Road as well as snack joint Tiffin Club in nearby Jiak Chuan Road. They join earlier gastronomic hideouts such as modern European restaurant Ember, in Hotel 1929, and Whatever Cafe, which both opened in Keong Saik Road in 2003.

Nicolas’ chef-owner Nicolas Joanny, 33, says: ‘I was looking to open my restaurant in a shophouse because these buildings have strong character and create a lovely dining ambience.’

He eventually decided on Keong Saik Road over shophouses in Purvis Street because the rent was more affordable.

Mr Leonardo Noto, 60, owner of German wine shop and bistro Magma, which opened in Bukit Pasoh Road in 2006, adds: ‘The strains of traditional Chinese music that float down from the Siong Leng Musical Association on the third floor of the shophouse unit make the vibe at my eatery all the more unique.’

Over in Tiong Bahru, the food and beverage (F&B) newcomers are scattered around the Art Deco-inspired Singapore Improvement Trust flats.

Chill-out lounge Wine Wise in Eng Hoon Street was the first to open early last year. It was followed by Caffe Pralet and steakhouse TBone on the same street as well as premium food retailer Le Bon Marche and its neighbour, patisserie Centre Ps in Guan Chuan Street. Euro-Singaporean bistro Persimmon in Link Hotel along Tiong Bahru Road is the latest addition.

Owners of the food outlets say they were unaware of each other’s plans to open in the area. But, instead of seeing it as profit-killing competition, they believe the coincidence is a nod to the potential of the area as an up-and-coming dining and food retail destination.

For Mr Tan Kim Boon, 52, co-owner of Centre Ps, Tiong Bahru’s proximity to town was the draw.

He says: ‘We’re a speciality pastry store, so opening in a shopping mall wouldn’t fit our products’ marketing profile. Tiong Bahru’s unique charm, however, complements our boutique positioning.’

His neighbour Stephane Herve, 38, co-owner of Le Bon Marche, says the area’s reputation as a foodie haunt, which is famous for its zhi char outlets and hawker centre, further persuaded him to open there.

That these neighbourhoods are undergoing a minor revival of sorts has also been a draw for the new F&B operators.

Mr Yew, who closed Streeters last year to open a private dining space, C Joe, above Nicolas, says the number of brothels in Keong Saik has dwindled in the last few years, replaced by firms in the creative industries such as interior design, architecture and music production.

This made it easier for chef Joanny to make up his mind about opening his restaurant there.

Tiong Bahru, on the other hand, is slowly shedding its image as being home to a greying population. More young professionals and expatriates are opting for the area’s eclectic vibe and this was a plus point for Ms Helena Lim, co-owner of Persimmon, who is in her 40s.

On the unplanned F&B developments in both neighbourhoods, URA’s head of heritage studies Kelvin Ang says: ‘URA gazetted Tiong Bahru and Keong Siak as conservation areas in 2003 and 1989 respectively, and is glad that they have evolved organically to meet both the needs of existing and new residents.’

Annex A Architects’ director Mark Wee, 33, is of the same opinion.

‘Because there isn’t a concerted push to develop these areas as eating haunts, unlike Boat Quay or Clarke Quay, the food outlets don’t all appear at once, and this helps preserve the laid-back charm of the area,’ he says.

Long-time eateries in these neighbourhoods, mostly coffee shops and casual restaurants, also welcome the new players.

‘We offer different types of cuisine, so there is no direct competition. Besides, new restaurants in the area means people have more reason to come here and I might even benefit from a spillover of customers,’ says Mr Wong Siew Hoong, 29, manager of Kok Seng Restaurant, which has been selling zhi char in Keong Saik Road for more than 40 years.

Likewise, residents in Tiong Bahru are happy about the new gastronomic buzz.

Banker Tee Boon Peng, 40, enjoys having more dining options in his neighbourhood. His only lament: insufficient parking in the area, which means visiting diners sometimes park illegally along the road, inconveniencing other motorists.

Looking ahead, Ms Lim says she hopes future food outlets opening in the area will ‘continue to blend in with the special character of the neighbourhood by offering unique dining concepts’.

Where to go

HERE’S a list of new food outlets to eat your way through the neighbourhoods of Keong Saik Road and Tiong Bahru.
Tiong Bahru
Caffe Pralet
17 Eng Hoon Street, 01-04, tel: 6223-5595
Open: 10.30am to 9.30pm daily

The cafe arm of culinary school Creative Culinaire next door, this cosy eatery serves a range of sweet treats such as its signature pralet cake ($4.20 a slice), a dark chocolate and hazelnut crunch cake, as well as hot meals including seafood baked rice ($6.20) and shepherd’s pie ($6.20).

42 Eng Hoon Street, tel: 6220-2927
Open: 8.30am to 10.30pm daily

Sink your teeth into juicy steaks such as its Black Angus tenderloin ($38). It also serves hearty salads such as Greek salad ($14).

Wine Wise
57 Eng Hoon Street, 01-86, tel: 6227-2118
Open: 11am to 2pm and 6 to 10pm daily

Relax at this wine lounge where wines are poured straight from wooden barrels stacked within the store. Red and white wines start at $8 a glass.

Le Bon Marche
78 Guan Chuan Street, 01-41, tel: 6226-3269
Open: 10am to 7.30pm, Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays to Saturdays. 1 to 6pm, Sundays, closed on Wednesdays

This gourmet food shop carries mostly exclusive speciality products such as Emmanuelle Baillard’s non-alcoholic Chardonnay grape juice ($6.50 for a 250ml bottle) and Mulot & Petitjean’s gingerbread with apricot ($21 for a 200g box), both from France.
Centre Ps
78 Guan Chuan Street, 01-43, tel: 6220-1285
Open: 10am to 8pm, Mondays to Saturdays, closed on Sundays

This patisserie specialises in macarons ($18 for a box of 18), as well as cakes such as the Grand Cru Royale ($7 a slice), a dark chocolate cake with a crunchy hazelnut base.
50 Tiong Bahru, Link Hotel, tel: 6227-2271
Open: 6am to 11pm daily

Tuck into Singaporean food with a European twist here. Popular items include its laksa fisherman’s pie ($26) and Hainanese chicken salad ($14).

Keong Saik

2-4 Bukit Pasoh Road, tel: 6221-0634
Open: Noon to 11pm, Mondays to Thursdays, noon to midnight, Fridays, 11am to midnight, Saturdays, 11am to 11pm, Sundays
This German eatery serves traditional items such as pork knuckles ($22) and Bavarian sausages ($10).
Majestic Restaurant
31-37 Bukit Pasoh Road, tel: 6511-4718
Open: 11.45am to 3pm and 6.30 to 11pm daily
Serving modern Cantonese cuisine, this restaurant is known for dishes such as its Peking duck with foie gras ($15 per person).

Tiffin Club
16 Jiak Chuan Road, tel: 6323-3189
Open: 8am to 6pm, Mondays and Tuesdays, 8am to 10pm, Wednesdays to Saturdays, closed on Sundays

This breakfast and snack joint serves items such as oriental chicken salad ($9) and Tiffin Club carrot cake ($4). Wine and drinks are available after sundown.

50 Keong Saik Road, tel: 6347-1928
Open: 11.30am to 2pm and 6.30 to 10pm, Mondays to Fridays and 6.30 to 10pm, Saturdays, closed on Sundays

This modern European restaurant is known for its Chilean seabass with yuzu butter sauce ($30) and chocolate fondant with homemade vanilla ice cream ($13).

Whatever Cafe
20 Keong Saik Road, tel: 6224-0300
Open: 9am to 10.30pm daily

Indulge in wholesome, healthy eats such as its roasted fruit salad ($11.90) and roasted vegetable and mustard sandwich ($8.90).
25 degree Celsius

25 Keong Saik Road, 01-01, tel: 6327-8389
Open: 11am to 10pm, Mondays to Thursdays, 11am to 11pm, Fridays and Saturdays, closed on Sundays
Try the miso new potato salad ($11.80) and the pan-roasted barramundi fillet ($18.80) at this cosy cafe.

35 Keong Saik Road, tel: 6224-2404
Open: Noon to 2pm, Mondays to Fridays and 6.30 to 10pm, Mondays to Saturdays

This fine-dining French restaurant serves gems such as pan-roasted foie gras ($34) and roasted Tasmanian rack of lamb ($42).
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Interesting Shops in Tiong Bahru

December 10, 2007
Cafe Pralet

There were many happy discoveries in the simple menu, which offers both Western and Asian favourites. Cool Chef
Thu, Dec 06, 2007
AsiaOne – Wine, Dine & Unwind
First posted in CoolChef

Cafe Pralet is the latest extension by Creative Culinare, a well known pastry and bakery school that provides baking classes and consultancy services. It is the showcase for Chef Judy Koh’s inspirations and creative talents in pastry arts and bakery.

The cafe has two dining concepts – a formal area to handle the more challenging dishes on the menu and a cozy patio for coffee, tea, pastries and nibbles. There are books on a variety of subjects, as well as wireless internet access for those who live by the net. Or one could just simply laze and watch the world go by in old Tiong Bahru.

There were many happy discoveries in the simple menu, which offers both Western and Asian favourites. The small Asian selection includes curry, ayam tempra, laksa and mee siam. There are also made-to-order sandwiches and salads, chops, pasta and fish and chips. There are also snack breads with different fillings and cookies as well as festive specialties. The pastry selection is based on Judy’s inspiration of the moment. Best of all, the prices are very reasonable, considering the ambience and quality.

The fish and chips are the best we’ve ever had in a cafe setting. Crusted with crispy buttery batter, the entire piece of white dory (or Vietnamese catfish as it should be more correctly known), took up more than half of the space of the dinner plate and required an extra serving of tartare sauce and chili sauce. More importantly the food was serving piping hot – crucial for a dish that is deep fried – and the chunky quality catfish free of any “mud taste”. Given the serving that we enjoyed, it costs less than $10 per order! An excellent value-for-money item.

My wife loved the low-calorie laksa. To meet its claim, very little (I suspect none) coconut milk used in the preparation, yet it still manages to achieve the right level of richness. The freshly chopped laksa leaves reinforce the dish’s character despite the absence of the other key element.

My mum enjoyed her Mee Siam. The sour assam-flavoured gravy had a decent pungency of fermented soya beans and was enriched with the right tinge of coconut milk, giving it a nice aroma.

When it comes to their pastries, the most celebrated piece would be Judy’s signature’s Pralet. Chocoholics will love this ganache layered piece of indulgence elegantly topped with a small piece of gold leaf. The base is supported by a crispy wafer crust and the ganache tastes of quality bitter chocolate with a nice gentle sweetness. It goes excellently with coffee or tea.

L-R: Chef Judy’s signature Pralet, brownie with rum & raisin ice-cream, and Bavarian Kirschtorte, aka Black Forest Cake.

The brownies here are much lighter on the palate and resemble a combination of moist chocolate cake and fudge, specked with chunky pieces of walnuts in between. Best of all, the home-made rum and raisin ice-cream topping this brownie will sent you on a “high” with its intense flavour.

One of my favourite sponge cakes is the Bavarian Kirschtorte or more commonly known as Black Forest Cake. Unfortunately many local chefs distort this wonderful recipe by using non dairy pastry whip, maraschino cherries, chocolate rice and an absence of any flavoured liquor. Experiencing Judy’s creation was like rediscovering a lost heritage. The whipped cream, the sour cherries, the liquor-soaked chocolate sponge and the chocolate shavings? everything was there in the right proportions.

A patisserie cannot do without a brulee hence Judy puts out a classic version for all cr?me brulee aficionados. The rich creamy custard is a steal for its price but it will be ridiculous to expect real vanilla for it. Nonetheless the custard still merits a mention for its rich and silky smooth texture. It left a very pleasant and smooth aftertaste in the tongue. I found the caramel crust a little too thick for my liking but that’s an issue that can be easily resolved.

Beside the cream based pastries, another house specialty is the Baked Guava Tart. A cross between an apple pie and an Austrian Linzer, the filling is made with a unique mix of fresh guavas and spices. A lovely crust made with crushed crackers and nuts provides the perfect contrast between crust and filling. It is great with coffee!

We cannot wait to return to Cafe Pralet for another lazy weekend afternoon sometime soon.

Cafe Pralet by Creative Culinaire
Eng Hoon Mansion #01-03/04,17
Eng Hoon Street,(S) 169767
Tel: 63241663

Coolchef is a local professional chef who cooksm blogs, educates and lives life to the fullest with his wife in Singapore. A former CIA & SHATEC alumni, accredited with the Global Chefs Advisory Board, at-Sunrice The Singapore Culinary Academy, Coolchef seeks out gastronomic experiences and picks up culinary knowledge of different cuisines from his work in different countries during the course of his career. Keen to share his knowledge and expertise, Coolchef is also a visiting Guest Chef Instructor with People’s Association.

Interesting Shops in Tiong Bahru

November 8, 2007

The Straits Times – Urban Section
8 November 2007

Tan Hsueh Yun


Right next door to Le Bon Marche is a cake shop with a screaming pink and white sign.

Walk into Centre Ps (pronounced centrepiece), and you’ll find another very pink wall.

I’ve never been so glad to see dark brown from the dark chocolate used in the rather fancy-looking cakes in the display case.

They are the creations of pastry chef Steven Ong, 39 (above), who is letting his imagination run wild and free after leaving the hotel industry, where he’s worked for 20 years.

The unfettering was a good thing too. D’Tanjung Katong ($7 a slice), named after another old, charming area of Singapore that he likes, has a dark chocolate ganache and sweet, chunky bananas in between layers of coconut dacquoise.

I like how the bananas still have bite and provide a sweet counterpoint to the dark chocolate.

The cake sounds terribly rich, but it isn’t.

Dark chocolate fans should try the Grand Cru Royale ($7 a slice) – a deeply chocolatey cake on a crunchy hazelnut base.

I’ve eaten more ethereal macarons ($18 for a box of 18) but I am going back for the chocolate and cafe creme ones.

The violet one, in a bright blue hue, is fantastic.

Ong says he’s happy to customise cakes for his customers.

He also has a terrific sugee cake, made originally for a resident in the neighbourhood who used to go to the East Coast to satisfy her craving.

I had a taste of one of these cakes warm from the oven, and it was a springy, buttery thing.

Soon, the shop will also offer quiches, pies and pissaladiere, a Provencal-style pizza topped with caramelised onions, olives and anchovies.

Centre Ps, 78 Guan Chuan Street, 01-43, tel: 6220-1285. Opening hours: 10am to 8pm (Mondays to Thursdays), 10am to 9pm (Fridays and Saturdays).


Interesting Shops in Tiong Bahru

November 8, 2007
The Straits Times – Urban Section
8 November 2007
Tan Hsueh Yun

MARCHE CACHE: Shirley Tang and Stephane Herve invite you to sample their wares, like the Emmanuelle Baillard juices and nectars and the clementines in vanilla syrup.

With so many gourmet shops popping up all over the island – selling meats, cheeses, vegetables, fruit and gourmet groceries – it is quite possible to do like chi-chi Europeans do and patronise only small shops.

The latest one to open has all the fixings for dinner and then some.

At three-week-old Le Bon Marche in Tiong Bahru, you can get some plump chicken, luscious San Marzano tomatoes on the vine, French cheeses, anchovies from Barcelona and premium smoked salmon – champagne-glazed no less – from French brand Labeyrie.
Soon, there will be Donegal oysters from Ireland.

The shop is run by Stephane Herve, 37, who was a chef at various restaurants and a food division manager at gourmet chain Culina.

He and his wife Shirley Tang, also 37, provide the kind of friendly, knowledgeable service lacking in Singapore.

Try some nectarine juice, they’ll say. Want a taste of anchovies? How about some cheese?

Shopping here is such a pleasure, with new things to discover on every shelf.

I highly recommend the Emmanuelle Baillard juices and nectars.

Emmanuelle Baillard juices and nectars

For people who don’t want to drink wine with dinner but want something more exciting than water, try the Chardonnay grape juice ($6.50 for a 250ml bottle).

It is pressed from the same type of grapes used to make the wine and the non-alcoholic juice has a light, floral scent that’s quite irresistible.

The raspberry nectar ($6.90 for a 250ml bottle) has a deep berry flavour which makes it a great cocktail mixer.

I also like the clementines in vanilla syrup ($13.50 for a 150g jar).

Clementines in vanilla syrup

The slices of small mandarin oranges taste so tangy and fresh on buttered toast.

Or use them to top a lemon curd tartlet.

If you like gingerbread, pick up some Mulot & Petitjean gingerbread with apricot ($21 for a 200g box).

The little round cakes are lightly and aromatically spiced.

Bite through the thin shell of cake and the decadent apricot jam starts spilling out.

Tiong Bahru has always been a magnet because of its old-style architecture and the great food served in atmospheric coffee shops.

Herve says it was this charm that drew them to the neighbourhood. I’m hoping they stay a while.

Le Bon Marche, 78 Guan Chuan Street, 01-41, tel: 6226-3269. Opening hours: 10am to 7.30pm (Mondays to Saturdays), 11am to 5pm (Sundays). Closed on Wednesdays.